tv [untitled] April 13, 2013 4:00am-4:30am PDT
also on the bernal heights design review board on west slope. i'm here to speak in favor of scott wiener's legislation and i wanted to talk specifically how it affects me -- well, i'm going to say i'm an architect, too. specifically, i'm a one-man shop and it affects small projects and small or just small-size projects. and what typically happens is if someone it going to have opposition or a problem, they'll file a dr. you go in front of the planning commission. the planning commission rules one way or the other, justly or unjustly, and that's when the first notice should take place instead of waiting for the last notice, because generally when that happens, if you're doing an addition and you get your approval from the planning commission, you begin the process of hiring a structural engineer, other consult
apartments, landscape designers and you can go through a process of six months to do the construction documents. then you go through the process of submitting the building -- [speaker not understood] building department which takes another nine months and you're paying the fees for all that. and it would be just infinitely easier to have the action tied to the first approval and not at the end. there's no reason to spend all that money and have the building department clog up the line if the ceqa appeal is still waiting to be judged upon or waiting to be brought up. and finally, i don't know if there is thought in the future of ceqa being used to block projects just for obstruction and we heard that they're expecting more appeals and i'm just curious how the board of supervisors will deal with that. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker.
good afternoon. my name is melinda [speaker not understood], and i'm with [speaker not understood] neighbors association. and i'm here to talk about a couple things. the first thing was one of the first things you mentioned, supervisor wiener, was the new and improved transparency [speaker not understood]. that's why you wrote the legislation. as i read your legislation, to me it became less transparent and more oblique, and actually the word that's used by the hayes team organization when they looked through the legislation, they said especially around the approval action definitions, it was ambiguous. and i concur with that. i read through it it and i found it to be very ambiguous. and, so, that doesn't help in transparency whether it's first approval or approval action is not clearly defined for the average person. secondly, i think the transparency -- the fact that
you're considering hearing ceqa appeals at a smaller committee of the board of supervisors and then having the final vote in front of all of them, to me also doesn't wreak of true transparency because if individual citizens are not able to speak to the entire board and express themselves in front of the entire board, i don't think that's a really transparent situation. so, to me those are two situations where i don't believe the legislation helps with transparency. but i also wanted to share a personal story as well. i'm going to try to be fast. okay. several years ago a building in my neighborhood was with bought by a developer, it was a single-family home. he immediately turned around and set it up for demolition. i called about like is that possible to demolish an old 80 year old house. it is probably not very likely so forth and so on. a year later we get the 311
notice that says okay they've got approval to demolish it and build something new. [inaudible]. >> thank you. i'll write you an e-mail and tell you the whole story. [laughter] >> thank you. next speaker, mr. goldberg. good afternoon, supervisors and president chiu. my name is jonathan goldberg and i'm here on behalf of san francisco beautiful. while i would like to commend the amount of outreach that has been taken by supervisor wiener's office, largely in the beginning portion of this year and the work of planning staff with their efforts trying to disseminate a lot of this information along a many concerned community groups, environmental groups and nonprofit city advocacy groups, a number of our concerns have already been echoed largely with the first permit trigger window to file an appeal for a project.
however, in order for san francisco beautiful to commend and support a decent increase in democratic piece of legislation, about an issue that so many san franciscans feel so passionately about, we you arectionv a continuation be taken on supervisor wiener's legislation today until supervisor kim's legislation can be fully vetted by this committee and compared to what is being discussed. thank you. >> mr. goldberg, my understanding is san francisco beautiful has not taken a position on my legislation. is that correct? that is correct. >> okay, because i don't know if you know, but san francisco beautiful is listed as an opponent on one of the lists along with other organizations that i know have not taken a position. and, so, i just wanted to make sure you knew that because that was my understanding. correct. >> okay. we had spoken about it, against it before. however, the board has not taken a formal position on this issue. >> thank you for the clarification. thank you. >> next speaker.
good afternoon, supervisors. my name is raymond castillo. i'm here representing south of market community action network. i'm asking you today for the first item supervisor wiener proposed if you can just hear jane kim's proposal. first of all, supervisor wiener did not do a broad outreach within the community and his legislation has already raised several concerns, especially because it would severely constrain environmental protection in san francisco while making it [speaker not understood] fixing efficiencies in ceqa procedures. supervisor kim has also introduced an alternative that attempts to make ceqa process easier for the community to use and we ask the galore continue today's item to allow for more time to examine each piece of legislation side by side and compare them. we ask for more time to ensure that each piece of legislation gets its fair shake. you don't have to vote today.
just give us some time to look at both of them. this is really a complicated legislation and we don't need to wade through all this mumbo-jumbo. [laughter] you know. while we do know from checking out supervisor wiener's legislation so far is that it would make it very difficult to get the fact finding about development projects and silence our ability to go before our entire elected body and have our voices heard in the appeal process. we want [speaker not understood] reforms, too, but supervisor wiener's don't look like they're solving anything of those problems but really just making it easier for the bureau cats [speaker not understood]. we don't want to make it harder for the people to go through the legally mandated process. we want with the city to consider how to make it more efficient. so, thank you. ~ bureaucrats [speaker not understood].
[speaker not understood]. supervisor wiener, you asked -- supervisor kim asked for specific examples of how this legislation would impact or how it's impacted projects. and then, supervisor wiener, you asked for general frustration. so, i can give you both today. first of all, there is a project in the marina green that was originally adopted as an office building. the marina green project was later resolved into a potential restaurant. so, that would have been the first approval. so, that right there is an example of the flaw in the first approval logic. secondly, 899 northpoint, there was a variance hearing, a negative declaration was issued and there was a demolition permit. each one of those could have been considered first approval. that's a second example that you requested, mr. chiu, of
flaws in the first approval. and then, of course, you've already heard the big one, cpmc park merced. i think you were hoping that we depth bring that up. those were excellent examples. now for the frustration part. the frustration that i want to quote is actually coming from the planning department. and here's a quote from ms. jones who spoke today when she was asked what the issues are with first approval versus second approval. she said, quote, it's problematic if an issue a raised post approval. it's better if it's raised proactively. well, of course, we don't want to be in the position of having to defend an e-i-r. the fact of the matter is the planning department really needs the public's help and that's one of the beauties of preserving ceqa the way it is with the long-timelines, with the multiple opportunities to participate. we are actually helping the planners as we are helping the supervisor pass this legislation.
thank you. >> thank you. next speaker. hello, supervisors. my name is michelle meyers. i am the director of the san francisco bay capture the sierra club. first, i want to thank supervisor jane kim for a thoughtful process in listening to community stakeholders which include 35 different organizations that had attracted a lot of supervisor wiener [speaker not understood] realize we're not going to make the headway needed to be supportive of your legislation. the sierra club is opposed to supervisor wiener's legislation. i also want to thank [speaker not understood] hastings comparing what some of the community stakeholder's concerns were and thoughtfully cast crafting alternative legislation that supervisor kim's office has been work with. we do not have a position on supervisor kim's legislation as of yet and we are really looking forward to seeing it tomorrow so we can examine it on its merits. and i'm hopeful that the
community still [speaker not understood] will create something even better and stronger that addresses the concerns to set forth clear timelines and approval processes without compromising the public's ability to file appeal, prepare documents, [speaker not understood] arguments and appeal comments to the full board of supervisors. so, please continue this and consider both pieces of legislation side by side. thank you. >> next speaker. my name is rebecca evans. i want to echo what ms. meyers said. i also want to thank all of you for being here today and sitting through this whole thing. i particularly want to thank supervisor kim for working with community advocates to come up with alternate legislation. i'ved with the cpmv c process from a distance living in that neighborhoodv. i'm glad that the community people that were involved it in it had a chance to work on it. it still isn't satisfactory to my liking because there are far too many [speaker not understood] being involved but i think it is much better than it was before. another example has to do with
proper notice and it has to do with the [speaker not understood] property. apparently the project lay dormant for a couple of years but heart felt they had issued a category exemption, they had not. when it came to light then they had to exempt -- have one, now it's gone to litigation. so, i think it is really important that the noticing be clear. and that the approval process wherever it is, should be later in the process. i don't know exactly what the america's cup initial process approval was. i watched it for a period of about 15, 16 months. it could have been the first agreement of the board of supervisors to oppose -- to approve the [speaker not understood] agreement. over the many months, there were lots of approvements that came over to that project. you all have been witness to them. some of the parts of the project fell away. out of it came a sustainability plan, a waste plan, a people plan. there were improvements made to the system. the water and supply systems in the port area. so, i think it is really important for the projects --
the process to be very transparent and for the public to have good opportunity to get into the process wherever possible. thank you. >> ms. bobbitt. hello, supervisors. i made a tactical error here not turning in my card. everybody said everything i thought i was going to mention so i'll drawing this out, i'll just say the [speaker not understood]. in general, in listening to the discussion today, i am just having a little trouble figuring out why folks who were concerned about the process the way it is now, which sounds like there is good reason to be, wouldn't hurt to hear jane kim's legislation first. so, i would like to ask you to continue this and to continue the discussion so we can hear -- see both side by side. thank you. >> next speaker. good afternoon, supervisors. [speaker not understood], judy
berkowitz, coalition for san francisco neighborhoods. i also urge you to consider both pieces of legislation. the one before us present and the one that will be introduced tomorrow side by side. coalition for san francisco neighborhoods always looks at both sides of an issue before it goes on the ballot and i urge you to please do the same, make a motion to do the same. i want to thank supervisor wiener for bringing this forward. last december, you know the neighborhoods are just sitting around twittling their thumbs with nothing to do. [laughter] [speaker not understood]. >> i'm real obliged. we have two, hopefully there is a letter in the packet
containing a resolution that we passed [speaker not understood]. by the way, 48 neighborhood organizations in every corner of the city. two item that haven't been mentioned quite yet are the reassertion into legislation about substantial evidence which supports a fair argument rather than just substantial evidence which is a very, very high onerous level to attain. and proactive noticing by the planning department to the public rather than online noticing. other than that, fernando [speaker not understood] of choo choo has explained san francisco coalition for neighborhoods items much better than i ever could have. although several organizations have said that they don't like [speaker not understood]. >> thank you very much.
next speaker. i'll admit i have not been following this closely. i have referring to [speaker not understood]. so many people more qualified than i. but there are three things as i'm sitting here listening that occur to me. one is the enormous amount of effort that it takes for volunteers to get involved in the appeal process to begin with who are not being paid at all. and very often even the lawierx that work with us were not being paid either. ~ lawyers to maybe expend all of this, if it's not going to get pot point where any project is going forward at all, you know, i mean maybe this is not the most practical thing. another thing is when i'm speaking for knob hill neighbors here. we had several lawsuits over the years before we finally got all the heights reduced to no more than 65 feet t. was like a 10 year process for numerous high-rises. both high-rises might get approval and we would be
involved in lawsuits or not. and then they would pass from hand to hand with maybe the same conditional use even after our height limits passed, one was hanging on fought conditional use for the next three years and so forth. they might change quite a bit. they might actually be under the same e-i-r because it can take in various permutations of a project, you know. so, that would concern me. and i would be very concerned about not having testimony before the whole 11 -- the whole board of 11 supervisors. after all, you're sitting in judgment. and i think like let's say in a court situation, if there is a panel and there is less than the whole panel, but i think that's the group that votes on it, isn't it? i don't think that a little part of the panel hears it then the whole group votes on it. and i think it needs to be the same way. you know, i've been in there arguing on various cases like cmmt and cpmc and so on and i think it's just incredibly important that each supervisor who is going to vote hears from the public.
>> thank you. next speaker. good afternoon. thanks for all your efforts to date. my name is david sternberg. i'm with sternberg benjamin architects here in the city. we've done a number of multi-family projects in san francisco and around the bay area and have a lot of knowledge around the bay area. san francisco is the only jurisdiction that allows ceqa appeals after other major appeals. we have a client right now that's spending 35 to $40 million for an ongoing rental project in san francisco when you add up all the expenses. i was involved when they were purchasing the project with planning department approvals. at that point there is no guarantee of any time frame on appeals forsee qua. they did a lot of legal
registering of documents that hopefully were going to make it harder for these appeals to occur. but the reality is building codes and building department approvals require addendums. building department dbi addendums. you go et your site permit and then there's 6 or 8 addendums for the technical aspects of the building. these people can actually have 80% of this 35 to $40 million project and get their last minute mechanical addendum which is required and that can be appealed to ceqa. that would be totally devastating to a project like that. and that can happen to any project. we have addendums on small projects. it's just what happens through the building process through dbi. the other thing i'd like to say, too, i would say in almost every case these late, late ceqa appeals are just to hold up the project and nothing more
and they never, never get overturned. thank you. >> thank you. are there any additional public speakers? please come forward. i have called all the card that i've received. supervisor, welcome back. thank you, former supervisor jakemcgoldrick. i chaired the committee four years and i certainly would never look forward to becoming the appellate party or administrative interpretation body forsee qua appeals for two reasons, for two reasons. number one, it would not be fair to the other eight supervisors to allow two supervisors out of 11 to take control of ceqa under any conditions. in other words, two out of three would basically take control of the decisions in the adjudicative process or administrative process, whichever the city attorney wishes to pontificate on, would accept. but the deal here is that any attempt to try to reduce the political involvement is extremely antisan francisco. any attempt to say that oh, this is all simple notification
stuff is contradicted by the 6, 7, 8 important issues here in the legislation. [speaker not understood] the public can talk about legislation that either exists or that hasn't been introduced yet through [speaker not understood] legislation which doesn't exist officially that is not noticed here. it's not on the agenda. how can you three talk about it? you might want to verify whether the city attorney is correct in that brown act and sunshine act might be violated if you all talk about it but you can determine that after i talk or you can opine now. but i don't want to take my time. >> it has been introduced. it's going to be reintroduced tomorrow. it's going to be reintroduced. i don't know what you're talking about. the members of the public are talking as if they haven't had a chance to hear it. [speaker not understood]. one other issue. when we had to judge or interpret administratively cases, the question of fair argument was extremely important and i think a lot of that has to do with judgment
and interpretation. in fact, the question of whether or not there will be a heavier burden put on [speaker not understood] legalistic issues makes it incomprehensible what it is you're supposed to present. so, i would ask that certainly that would be addressed and i would thank you for your time. >> thank you, supervisor. mr. welch. supervisor wiener, supervisor kim, supervisor chiu. simple fairness would require acknowledgment of the efficacy of your proposals to deal with categorical exemptions and negative declarations. there's no question that that aspect of environmental review needs clarity. i'm not totally convinced that the way in which you go about solving them is the way to solve, but it is without question the right thing to do to put them on the public table
to be debate and had discussed. cat ex and negative declarations need to be clarified, the process needs to be made transparent. however, simple accuracy requires me to say that it is simply not as you assert at the beginning of this, that this has nothing to do, your legislation has nothing to do with e-i-rs and it has nothing to with projects like cpmc. if it had nothing to do with e-i-rs, why did you repeal section 31.16 of the administrative code which only addresses e-i-rs and replace it with new language that has caused two-thirds of the commentary today? clearly this legislation does deal with ceqa, with e-i-rs, with projects that require full e-i-rs, not simply negative declarations and cat ex's. so, it would again seem simply fair to allow full debate of those big questions that are
encompassed by supervisor kim's legislation as well. i strongly urge you to hold action today until both supervisor kim's and your legislation is before us so that we can see how both deal with the critically important question of full e-i-rs. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, mr. brookes. good evening, supervisors. eric brookes representing san francisco green party, local grassroots organization. our city and earth quart nater, the community ceqa improvement team. first of all, i want to reiterate what a couple other speakers on this side of the aisle said, which is that we realize that there are some problems that for a few people really cause a nightmare and we realize that this needs to be fixed. we realize that cat ex's and negative declarations need an improved process. and let me assure you that the legislation that we have helped
craft that will be coming from supervisor kim's office is not going to be a piece of legislation that is going to allow a problem like discovering a rotting wall to really mess things up for a homeowner that wants to fix their house. that's not in our interest. we won't support legislation that causes that kind of a problem. so, i think folks should rest assured that the super improvement team is not going to put its stamp of approval on something that would cause that sort of a problem. and i think we can figure out a way to work those things out. and i want to get to the most important point, and that is the first approval and how that relates to noticing. you know, when you trigger the appeals clock at the first approval at the very beginning of the process, that inherently zaps months of noticing and sometimes years of noticing, years of preparation that
people need to understand what's going to happen, not with these little projects, but with kind of gray area and large projects where profound changes will happen. we must have a final approval trigger that is well defined so that during that buildup process to the end as the project changes, we can still appeal it and not allow disasters to go forward. and that is what -- [inaudible]. >> thank you. thank you, mr. brookes. thank you. next speaker. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is roby [speaker not understood]. i'm an architectural historian but i'm not here speaking to you as that today. i'm speaking as an elected executive board member of the health care workers union here in san francisco seiuhw, not in an official capacity, but as a representative in that union of working people who are the
majority of the people of this city, two-thirds renting. the city, first of all, is a place of living and the people that seem to be so hyped to push this through are connected one way or another with the development process as either a profit making or in other ways. so, i would urge that the issue be continued so that we can have a more full discussion. it's very important that this go forward in a way that improves and not tightens down on the ceqa process. having spent time, you know, using that process, i was pretty horrified and a lot of things, i know there's things that need to be done. but in your legislation, supervisor wiener, it seems like you're approaching this like your proposition e and f where things are thrown in here that does not expand and
improve the ceqa process in the city, but rather tightens down timelines, throws in other curves and takes away the chance for a wider exposition of the issues that have to be considered. it's very important that we keep san francisco, first of all, as a place to live. and, you know, if we can make a buck, that's fine, too. thank you. >> sir, can i just clarify something? are you here as an individual or on behalf of unitedhealth care workers? i'm here as an individual. i think i made that clear. >> unitedhealth care workers taken a position on this legislation? no, they have not. >> thank you for that clarification. it was a little unclear. i'm glad i verified that for you. >> next speaker. good evening, supervisors. my name is kieran buckley. i'm a small vendor. [speaker not understood].
and i think you're going the right direction, supervisor wiener, with this. i think if you look at the first speaker there gave a good example of how difficult it can be as a homeowner and when it -- it can drag out forever and cost a lot of money. and it ends up costing the -- sometimes it will end up costing the person who borrows a lot of money when it drag on like that. so, basically [speaker not understood]. thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. supervisor. mr. chairman, mr. president, supervisor, madam clerk, deputy city attorneys, my name is aaron peskin. i have met with myself and i am representing myself. [laughter] so, let me do a little